Yeah Passover!

Passover is my favorite holiday.  It’s like spring break for me.  I love cooking, I love pulling out recipes we only make once a year, I love the planning, i just love Passover!

Passover is funny, because every family has their own traditions, what rules they will bend, what rules they ignore, and what rules they won’t ever break, no matter what.  Depending on how observant you are, and what your families traditions are, some rules are “rules”, others are “traditions”, others are “guidelines”.

more like guidelines than rules

The traditions I grew up with were “don’t be obvious or blatant that you are breaking Passover”.  I use store bought mayonnaise.  I use powdered sugar which usually contains a small quantity of corn starch. I use ketchup, which very likely contains corn syrup. We have Pepsi in the house, also usually with corn syrup. I use plenty of store bought stuff that surely contains forbidden ingredients, but isn’t walking around screaming “Look at me! I’m full of stuff you’re not supposed to eat!”. I categorize all that stuff as “not blatant”.  I’m sure some Jews are reading this right now and clutching their pearls. That’s cool.  Like I said, every family’s traditions are different.


Last year, a rabbinic ruling came out stating that “kitniyot” (beans, rice, a bunch of other previously forbidden stuff), was now okay to eat.  So I can have corn tortillas and beans and rice for Passover?  So, here’s the thing.  I eat a mostly gluten free diet as it is. If beans, rice, corn, etc are OK for Passover, how is this week any different from the rest of the year? what, i don’t eat oatmeal for one whole week?  I like the specialness of Passover. I appreciate the extra meal planning. It’s spring break from junk food, in a way. All that to say that I’m not ready to start blatantly eating kitniyot.  Next year at Taco Bell?


anyways, here is an incomplete list of all the delicious things I’ll be stuffing into my face during Passover, because getting to eat all this delicious stuff qualifies as a holiday!

meatballs (omg, so many meatballs!)

schnitzel with lemon caper sauce

egg salad

carrot and olive salad

frittata with home made fermented pepper sauce

smashed potatoes with leek sauce

Citrus chicken

Potato Skins

Zucchini Gratin

flax crackers

Matzah bark

chocolate truffles

chocolate walnut cookies

almond cookies

Rainbow Chard with Ginger

Cardamom Apple Cake

Spinach and Cheese Dumplings

Sweet potato and Apple casserole

Sweet potato, pear, and pecan casserole

fruit and nut stuffed turkey

Matzoh Ball Soup

Turkey Burgers

Pickled Onions



Ocean and Sky

I’m very slowly re-learning Torah and Haftarah tropes.   LOL, now I know why they teach these to pre-teens, when you are that age they are much easier to learn!   I’m learning as I go, and it mostly involves listening to recordings over and over and over again. and So. Much. Practice.

there is a woman at my congregation who chants the most beautiful Haftarah trope you ever heard.   I finally figured out what her voice sounds like:

Have you ever stood on the beach, where the waves hit the sand, and your bare feet are slowly sinking into the sand? You’ve got to stand right where the surf just hits the shore.  As the waves go in and out, the sand under your feet slowly gives way.  First, just the tips of your toes are covered. Then your toes are fully covered. Then your feet slowly sink a little further, and more of your foot is covered. You can pull your feet out at any moment, but why would you want to?  as the water is pulled back out, you feel a pull on your feet. A pull to go with the water. But you can’t go with the water, because your feet are locked in the sand.  Also, you can’t go with the water because you are a person, and we can’t go where the water is.

That is what her voice sounds like – the waves trying to pull you out to the deeper waters, but you know you can’t go there.

Haftarah tropes sounds like the ocean as heard from the beach.  You’re in it.

Torah tropes sounds like flying through the sky, where you can see everything – clouds, mountains, herds of animals, cities.  You’re flying above it.

I am hoping those concepts will be a little mnemonic trick for me, to help me remember what the  different notations sound like. They look the same, but sound different!  LOL, this is how I know i’m getting older – new things are a struggle to learn/relearn.